Akwaeke Emezi: ‘Imagine Being Ogbanje, Like Me’

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By Kim Tran

DEAR SENTHURAN
A Black Spirit Memoir
By Akwaeke Emezi

Queer and transgender people of color perpetually ask whether our deviance from expected ways of loving, living and being in our bodies renders us disgusting, frightening — even monstrous. Amid parades and rainbow-clad products, this is a line of inquiry approached in private. It is a tally of aberrance that we perform in our darkest hours, when families of origin and childhood friends remind us, yet again, of our undeniable difference. Akwaeke Emezi’s fourth book, “Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir,” provides this perennial question with a definitive answer. Yes, the author seems to say, we are monsters. But only if monstrosity is defined as the explicit refusal to abide by the binaries that surround us. In a world predisposed to queer villainy, “Dear Senthuran” claims monstrosity as a space of intentional rejection.

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